August 7, 2020

Deputy PM Raluca Turcan, Ministers Bolos and Alexe attend debates of Iasi Municipality Digital Council
Aug 7, 2020

Deputy PM Raluca Turcan, Ministers Bolos and Alexe attend debates of Iasi Municipality Digital Council.

Deputy Prime Minister Raluca Turcan and Minister of European Funds Marcel Bolos were in the northeastern city of Iasi on Friday, where they visited the Braunstein Palace which undergoes rehabilitation and reinforcement works, met with county mayors and attended the debates of the Iasi Municipality Digital Council. Iasi mayor Mihai Chirica, who is running for another term on behalf of the National Liberal Party, and Minister of the Environment, Water and Forestry Costel Alexe, who seeks office as president of the Iasi County Council, entrepreneurs and representatives of the academic and IT milieu also attended the debates. Mayor Mihai Chirica said that the creation of the first digital advisory council is an auspicious start for increasing the city's attractiveness for IT investments, mentioning that the local administration should act as a promoter. He reminded that in 2016 Iasi had 9,500 IT workers and three years later their number was over 23,000, which is why he plans to set up a smart city in the Windmill neighborhood, close to the future Regional Emergency Hospital. "With a project of 160 million euros, Iasi is currently the largest private sector investment for the future IT jobs. The city is also running a consultancy program with the European Bank of Investments, through JASPERS, to implement the first digital city model. Basically, we want to build around the future Regional Emergency Hospital a neighborhood that will operate according to the smart city principles. I hope that the project will be completed by the end of 2021," mayor Mihai Chirica said during the debates of the Iasi Municipality Digital Council. Chirica also reminded of the interest of the major IT&C companies for Iasi, mentioning in this sense the Amazon and Continental investments in local offices and labor force. In his turn, Minister Costel Alexe emphasized the initiation of an ample program for the digitisation of all localities in Iasi County, as a guarantee of the improvement of social and economic life. "Our digitization effort must continue. As a Liberal and as a member of the government and, I hope, provided that the people of Iasi entrust me the office of Iasi County Council president after September 27, I want the central public administration to get devolved. And for this I think it's natural to digitize local public administrations. Together with the Iasi County Council team we will set up a digital innovation center in this public institution, to create bridges between local public administrations and the business environment. After September 27 I want us to be the first county of Romania to enroll all its communes on the online tax platform. I have yet another desideratum, as a potential president of the County Council: step by step, queuing must become history," said Alexe. Deputy Prime Minister Raluca Turcan referred to the measures taken by the Orban Government regarding the digitization of public services. "In parallel with the management of the health crisis, in the digital field we managed to render the platform operational. We also succeeded in connecting the fiscal cash registers to the servers of the tax authority and to offer a lot of digital public services, for example the payment of child allowances, the prescriptions issued by family doctors, the relationship with pharmacies for subsidized medicines, the allowances for disabled people," said Deputy Prime Minister Turcan. She also mentioned the government's efforts to digitally support the economic activity affected by the pandemic. "We already have an ordinance for the digitization of SMEs, worth 150 million euros. We have also launched a Start-Up Students program of 150 million euros, as well as a digital education program for employees and employers of 30 million euros and 50 million euros, respectively," said Raluca Turcan. Minister Marcel Bolos voiced his appreciation for the efforts made by the local authorities for the absorption of European funds, including for digitization, mentioning that "Iasi is on the right track". "Your portfolio of digitization projects is in line with the European trend. We have seen three major types of projects: the digitization of public services, the digitization of education and the digitization of health. Our proposal in the negotiations with European Commission representatives in this field are following these three directions, so we have come to the same conclusions. Mr. Mihai Chirica's intuition was very good," Marcel Bolos said. The Minister of EU funds said that 900 million euros will be allocated for the digitization of public services. "It's an impressive budget. So only those mayors who don't want to do it will not turn digital. 250 million euros will be allocated for the digitization of education. I was glad to see that you have solutions here in Iasi for this case too, which places you on the right track. Continue on this path because it is only a matter of time before this area too will be decentralized. There are 350 million euros allocated for health digitization. I am glad that you are also interested in this area for which the Orban Government has also designed an Operational Program with a promising budget of 4.2 billion euros. However, the burden remains on the shoulders of the local units, because they must find ways to effectively use the money through projects and this is where the added value at local level is generated," said Marcel Bolos. On the same day, the delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Raluca Turcan had a meeting at the Prefect's Office with the mayors of Iasi County and visited the industrial park in Miroslava. In the evening the officials were invited to the Metropolitan Palace by Theophanes, Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina. AGERPRES (RO - author: Daniela Malache, editor: Karina Olteanu; EN - author/editor: Simona Klodnischi)

[Read the article in Agerpres]

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